POCAHONTAS, Va. (WJHL) — The Town of Pocahontas has been awarded a grant to continue improvements at the Pocahontas Exhibition Mine.
Officials gathered at the former mine site Friday to present the $379,178 grant funding from the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals, and Energy’s Abandoned Mine Lands Economic Revitalization Program.
The Pocahontas Exhibition Mine allows visitors to go underground to see how coal was produced in the 19th century. Coal was first mined at the site in 1882 and the mine remained active for more than 70 years.
The grant will fund work that is already underway. A tram stop was installed to allow visitors to take a riding tour and experience going underground as miners once did. Space next to the museum was renovated and turned into a restaurant that is available for lease.
“The Pocahontas Exhibition Mine is a unique Southwest Virginia treasure that showcases our mining heritage,” Rep. Morgan Griffith said in a release. “This latest federal AML Pilot Project grant will advance upgrades to the property, including the addition of a tram stop to increase the site’s accessibility. As a result, the Pocahontas Exhibition Mine will become even more appealing to sightseers and a greater asset to the local economy. Continued support for the project is a boom to the town of Pocahontas and the region’s wider tourism industry.”
According to the Department of Mines, Minerals, and Energy, the town of Pocahontas expects to see a 50 percent increase in ticket sales due to the improvements.